“Next Target Right!” – LdSH(RC) Participates in Ex PLEIN CONTACT 2012
By MWO Rob Clarke
It wasn’t long after the Twin Rinks janitor swept up the last few bits of confetti, and the mental scars incurred by seeing Cpl Mike Allman smeared in Myrtle Green body-paint began to heal, that the Regimental sports teams were called back into action for a rare opportunity - an “away game” in Valcartier, QC for Ex PLEIN CONTACT 2012.
The annual day-long sporting event is a great opportunity to bring “Black-Hatters” together and typically draws its participants from Armoured Units that live in Quebec, such as the 12e RBC and the Sherbrooke Hussars, and from Units that hang their berets only a short drive away, like the Armour School and the RCD. Traditionally, the Regt has never sent soldiers to participate in this event, but this year LCol Trevor Cadieu broke the mould and decided that sending both the Gold medal winning Ice Hockey team and the Bronze medal winning Ball Hockey team was the way to go in order to represent the Regt – and represent they did.
The tournament kicked-off with the standard opening remarks and ceremonial puck drop at the ice hockey venue, which preceded our first game against a spirited 12e RBC home team. In true Strathcona fashion, the team quickly fell behind to cheers from the partisan crowd, but rallied back to pull out a thrilling 4-3 victory in the dying minutes, backstopped by net minder Tpr Madison Lorge. The second and third games had our boys take on the always tough RCD and the Sherbrooke Hussars, and with very little in the way of dramatics this time, our boys banked another two wins as we won 5-0 and 4-2 respectively; anchored by Cpl Kurtis Klages. With the round-robin and an impressive 3-0 record behind them, a spot in the Final was on the horizon.
Concurrently, at the Ball Hockey venue, our boys were lighting the lamp by beating the Sherbrooke Hussars 5-0; with the shutout going to Cpl Dave Olaes, then during a highly contested and “rough ”affair, managed to beat the 12e RBC 4-0 – with goalie Pte “Rimp” Rimpilainen posting the “goose-egg” between the pipes.
With the morning’s games in the bag, the teams briefly stopped for a Timmy’s and some rest before heading back to their respective venues for the next phase – the playoff round. Ball Hockey kicked things off with a Semi Final game against an aggressive Armour School squad, and after some early pressure, the boys regained their composure, turned on the jets and powered their way to a 9-0 victory – anchored by a 4 goal performance by Cpl “too-tanned” Graham. With that, the team made it to the final and earned a rematch with the Sherbrooke Hussars, who seemed to have a bit more determination this go-round, but it just wasn’t enough as we once again shut the door by winning 7-0. All in all, 4 wins, zero goals against and first place – Impressive!
In order to close the tournament with a bang, the final game pitted our Ice Hockey team against the hometown favourite 12e RBC. This time, with the ball Hockey finals in the bag, the complete Strathcona contingent was on hand to cheer on the team and it didn’t take long before the boys (proudly wearing their jerseys in the crowd) were shouting the ever popular “Goalie, Goalie...” cheer, or the newest jab “Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger” at a few of the “rounder” 12e RBC skaters.
In the end, our boys managed a 3-1 win, much to the chagrin of the hometown fans – which did not seem too impressed as we out-cheered them in the stands and out-fought them on the ice; lead by team Captain Cpl Kevin Crowe who even faired well during a rare tussle - ok, it was a wrestling match that ended with Cpl Crowe being mounted “school-yard style,” but at least he didn’t back down. (Thanks for saving his life Cpl Churchill.)
The day’s festivities ended with a quick “smoker” and trophy presentation, which had MCpl Calvin Delisle accept for Ball Hockey, Cpl Kevin Crowe accept for Ice Hockey and LCol Cadieu “tear” the Champion’s trophy from the clutches of the 12e RBC CO for all Strathconas – for the first time since the tournament’s inception.
Upon conclusion of the tournament, the boys quickly changed gears and prepared for a trip into Quebec City and The Citadel on Sunday afternoon (after a night at the bars of course) and an amazing and informative stop at Rheinmetall on Monday. Both tours were exceptional chances for our soldiers to see a bit of history, as they walked across the famed Plains of Abraham, and gain some insight into the Leo 2 implementation process, as they toured the factory that’s been responsible for delivering their Leo 2A4s.
In the end, after a few adventures into the heart of Montreal for some smoked meat at Shwartz’s, lead by MWO “Tom-Tom” Taylor and Maj “Magellan” MacIntyre, and a quick stop at some other world-famous “establishments,” the soldiers mounted up and made their way back to Edmonton with a hockey bag filled with memories that will only become more meaningful as the years go by. A big “thanks” to the CO and RSM for supporting this chance of a lifetime.